Cameroon’s preparations for the upcoming African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Gabon has been dealt another blow with a player pullout with barely ten days to the start of the tournament.
Striker Eric Maxime Choupo-Moting is the latest to declare himself unavailable to play in the AFCON. he has opted to stay with his German club Schalke 04, the Bundesliga team said on Tuesday.
Choupo-Moting followed seven other Cameroon players, including his former Schalke team mate Joel Matip – currently with Liverpool – in declining to play at the tournament in Gabon.
These players have put personal interest above those of the national team and the federation reserves the right to take action against the players in accordance with FIFA regulation.
“Choupo-Moting will be part of the Schalke squad that will travel to Benidorm for a winter training camp on Wednesday,” the club said (www.schalke04.de).
Coach Hugo Broos in a statement reacting to the players’ action said in a statement, “These players have put personal interest above those of the national team and the federation reserves the right to take action against the players in accordance with FIFA regulation.”
Aside Matip, the other six players who declined national duty were, Andre Onana of Ajax Amsterdam, Guy Roland Ndy Assembe (Nancy), Allan Nyom (West-Bromwich-Albion), Maxime Poundje (Girondins-Bordeaux), Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (Olympique-Marseille) and Ibrahim Amadou (Lille).
The decision of the players to put club before country ahead of the Nations Cup reopens the debate about the timing of the tournament in the middle of the season in Europe whose clubs provide the vast majority of players for the 16 competing countries.